A couple months ago, BMW released what was perhaps a decent but not necessarily superb ad for their Z4 convertible, which showed the car racing around on a white surface, it's tires leaving colorful marks--turning the hot-rod driving antics into a painting of sorts. (A concept we might add, which seemed lifted from Aaron Young.) But the game didn't end there: They followed the ad with a downloadable app which allows anyone to control a virtual car on a simulated version of his own desktop, and make like a painter, using the Z4 as a brush. You can then post the results on Facebook, naturally.
In all, a reasonably slick idea. It follows up on this previous print ad for the Mini Cooper. Which makes you wonder: Where will advertisers eventually take these kinds of apps? Already, places like Burger King consider their online ad extensions de rigeur, but what heights previous ads might have reached if there were a similar app component--Sony's Bravia ads for example. And isn't that what all the youtube fan created commercials and movies are about? But the key, it seems, would be a lack of controls--basically the opposite of branding.
Here's the original ad, and a video of the new app below: